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Prehistoric 'crowned crocodile' dinosaur found in the Urals

April 26, 2016

By The Siberian Times reporter

Hope that a 'full skeleton' of Estemmenosuchus uralensis has been located near Ochyor town.

Fossilised bones found on a steep slope of Kokul mountain, 475 kilometres northwest of Yekaterinburg, have been identified as belonging to this lugubrious creature which walked the planet 267 million years ago, in the Middle Permian era.

Scientists found the collarbone and a scapula of an early omnivorous therapsid best known for horns shaped like a moose's antlers. Head of the Museum of the Permian Geological Period Konstantin Dobryanskikh, in Perm, said: 'We found the fragments of the skeleton on April 19.'

While this area is rich in fossils, it is the first time the prehistoric 'crowned crocodile' has been located here, and it is seen as an exciting discovery potentially leading to new knowledge about this long-gone species.

'To our surprise, we saw a fragment of the humerus,' he said. 'Mountain Kokui is known for finds of large numbers of fossilised Permian conifers, yet the remains of dinosaurs had not been found there before. The hope is that there is a full skeleton.'

Two species of this idiosyncratic creature have been identified - Estemmenosuchus uralensis and Estemmenosuchus mirabilis, both from the Perm region of the Urals. They differ in size, shape of the skull, and shape of the horns.

It had a 'sprawling posture and could reach a body length of more than 3 metres (10 ft) - with a large head. The skull was 'long and massive, up to 65 cm (26 in) in length'.

There were several sets of large horns growing upward and outward from the sides and top of the head.




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